New virus thought to have originated in China’s Wuhan city has killed more than 1,100 people and infected nearly 44,700.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over the outbreak of a new coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

More than 1,100 people have died in mainland China and two deaths have been reported elsewhere – one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines. Almost 44,700 people have been infected worldwide, the vast majority of them in China.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to the WHO.

They circulate in animals and some can be transmitted between animals and humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

The new coronavirus has been named COVID-19. It is the seventh coronavirus known to affect humans.

What are the symptoms?

Common signs of infection include fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. 

In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure and death.

The incubation period of the new coronavirus is thought to be between one and 14 days. The virus is contagious before symptoms appear.

Infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any of the symptoms above, despite having the virus in their systems.